ALEC’s Shrinking Universe

In one of my favorite episodes of Star Trek: the Next Generation, Dr. Beverly Crusher is trapped in a universe that threatens to shrink until she is its only occupant.

The conservative activist organization called the American Legislative Exchange or ALEC now finds itself in a similar situation.  On March 24th, the Center for American Progress, in its email newsletter called The Progress Report, predicted, if not the demise at least the continuing diminution, of ALEC.

Here at Union Matters, we’ve discussed ALEC before.  Specifically, ALEC exists to offer cookie-cutter bills that right-wing state legislatures use to accomplish conservative goals.

But ALEC and its agenda aren’t without opponents.  On March 23rd, British Petroleum, which employs many USW members, announced that it is cutting ties with ALEC.  And BP is only the most recent mega-company to do so.  In 2012, superstars of the business world such as Coca-Cola, Kraft, Walmart, Amazon, Johnson & Johnson, and Miller/Coors, withdrew support for ALEC because of the latter’s buttressing restrictive voter ID legislation and Stand Your Ground gun laws.

More recently, in September of 2014, Google ended its relationship with ALEC.  In announcing the breakup, Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt said ALEC had literally lied about climate change.  Schmidt then stated that Google had made a mistake by ever funding ALEC in the first place.

Believe it or not, ALEC has, in its grab-bag of legislative templates, a bill that suggests climate change could be a good thing for the earth and its people.  Let’s be clear.  BP may not have broken ties with ALEC specifically because of the latter’s stand on climate change.  But BP is so much a giant in the oil industry that, by throwing ALEC over the side, BP may have helped hasten the Exchange’s demise.

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Michele Petrovsky holds a Master's Degree in Computer Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh. She spent over two decades teaching in colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and currently publishes two blogs: Thoughts4Change and I Owe It All to J Thaddeus Toad. Petrovsky resides in Glen Mills, PA.


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